Cho: Hi everyone, hope you’re having a nice summer. It’s time for some long-overdue posts to introduce new contributors for this site. Let’s start with Carriage!
How about you introduce yourself?
Carriage: Hi! I’m Carriage and I run a semi-infrequent blog over at A Carriage Return which is mostly a blog about anime and occasionally about light novels. Writing’s never been a strong suit for me, especially as a person in an entirely different field of study–but after reading the works of the great bloggers and writers here and elsewhere in our little corner of the internet, I felt like I wanted to give back in any way that I could–whether that be through the blog or contributing directly to places like ELN.
Otherwise, I’m just your ordinary Japanese mixed-media fan, occasionally yelling about anime, manga, light novels, and idols on Twitter whenever I get the chance. It’s nice to meet you all!
Cho: What got you into LNs? What do you like about them?
Carriage: If I had to pick just one thing I’d say that anime was largely what initially got me into light novels. Through LNs, I could follow series that were not completely covered by their animated adaptations like Hyouka and Index, or even re-experience shows that I loved again but slightly differently like with Toradora. After those initial few series, I ended up reading the fan translations for a lot of random novels, some of which would then later get adaptations, which then gave me the opportunity to understand the feelings of the perpetually disappointed source-material fan for the first time.
This is kind of a weird answer but it’s maybe because of this shared space between the two media that make me like LNs so much. Going in as an anime fan, it feels like LN authors draw from and write based on a set of experiences, knowledge, expectations, and so on and so forth that we as fans share. Even for the novels least grounded in reality and the most removed from traditional LN/anime-isms, there’s always an odd feeling of familiarity that comes out of writers that I can tell are fans of the same range of stuff as me. So asides from just simply enjoying the stories, the existence of that feeling of inclusivity I get from novels written by fans just like me is probably why I’ve been so attached to LNs.
Cho: Not a weird answer at all! I think many LN readers can relate to this. What light novels would you say are your favorites?
Carriage: Hyouka, Toradora, and Iris on Rainy Days are definitely favorites of mine from my fan translation days, the last of which I have been meaning to revisit since I haven’t re-read it since then. But more recently I’ve been enjoying Kieli, The Isolator, SAO, and Oregairu. The odd standout of these is definitely Kieli though. I was recommended it by Frog-kun when I was first getting back into LNs about 2 years ago and I’ve been really enjoying getting through it ever since.
Cho: Always nice to find another Kieli reader! Actually though, in terms of genre and tone, I’d say the odd standout in your list of favorites here is Sword Art Online. What do you like most about that series?
Carriage: Now that you mention it I guess it is a bit of an outlier, isn’t it? Sword Art Online was one of the first anime that I watched seasonally and was kind of my gateway back into anime. So whenever I got back into light novels, settling into Kawahara’s virtual worlds with a familiar cast was fun and easy–especially with the expansion on the part of SAO I liked the most in Progressive.
But nostalgia reasons aside, I think what had me coming back to SAO was Kawahara’s honest love for his worlds and scenarios. The games the characters play and the detailed places they explore feel like realizations of subjects and hobbies that he’s passionate about. And that’s really nice to see, especially given that they’re also things that my nerdy younger self often preoccupied himself with.
Cho: Outside of light novels, what other things do you enjoy?
Carriage: Aside from the obvious answers of anime/manga, games and game design are things that have interested me for a while. A couple classmates and I are actually in the process of polishing a game that we made in the hopes of releasing it sometime in the near future. As for other things, I’m a pretty big fan of seiyuu and Love Live and I’m also studying Japanese in my free time too!
Cho: What sort of game are you making?
Carriage: I probably shouldn’t go into too much detail, but it’s a bit of a weird spin on Rocket League except featuring sumo wrestlers instead of cars. It’s the same style of game though–essentially a first-person soccer game–but hopefully with enough creative spin to turn some heads, haha.
Cho: Sounds fun. Thanks for sharing, Carriage! And thanks for all your help so far on this site.